In the first major upset all season long, “American Idol” finally had a surprise elimination ahead of next week’s finale. Angie Miller, who soared to “Idol” fame with an impassioned performance of her original song, “You Set Me Free” during Hollywood Week, was sent home Thursday.
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Angie had a lot of ups and downs during her “Idol” run, but always seemed to stay a fan favorite, collecting twice as many Twitter followers as the next most popular contestant, and staying seemingly well above the bottom two each week. But Angie also had a weakness—she just couldn’t connect to songs when she wasn’t at the piano. And Wednesday night, after choosing to do two out of her three performances off the instrument, she may have missed her opportunity to stay in the game.
The other theory is this: Candice Glover is consistently, ridiculously good week after week, and earned her ticket to the finale for sure. And Kree Harrison, whom the judges have nicely tried to get kicked off the show for weeks now, took up all of Janelle Arthur’s country votes. The passionate country lobby on “Idol” is just too strong to beat, as seen in past seasons that gave careers to annoyingly mediocre people like Lauren Alaina (more on her later). Plus there’s the whole sympathy vote that comes from being the worst peformer of the night AND from having the saddest backstory. On Wednesday’s show, Kree was both of those things.
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Whatever it was, Angie is gone now, and no one saw it coming—least of all Angie. When the news came—it was between her and Kree—Angie tried to stay smiling while the tears just poured out. Watching her goodbye video, she could barely contain herself. Singing her going away song, “Never Gone,” was painful. She was crying throughout, and then giggling and apologizing, and there came a time when you thought she was just going stop and hug her family, but no, she kept trying to sing. It’s so Angie.
You can always tell on these shows who really thinks they are going to win. It’s the ones who cry—really cry, when they get kicked off. Not just the single tear during the video of their journey, but the hysterical sobs, the Rachel Crows of this world. And Angie was one of them.
Kree, meanwhile, was shaking her head, not knowing what the heck she is still doing here. And it looks like she might actually win this thing. Because if Kree could oust mega-popular every-white-teenage-girl-in-America Angie, then nothing is sacred.
Me? I’m thrilled. For one thing, as long as Candice is still on my TV, I’m good. For another, I haven’t fully enjoyed Angie since about two weeks after that magical Hollywood moment, when it appeared that that was all she could really give. And on a season that was pretty much predictable since the finals began, anything to change up the way this was supposed to go, especially this late in the game, is the only thing keeping me from checking out completely.
In other news: “Idol” opened with an animated scene in which a cartoon “professor” who appears to be modeled on Clay Aiken interacts with Ryan Seacrest. It’s a promo for the film “Epic.” The judges come out, and it’s a contest between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey over which kind of dress is better for sashaying—Mariah’s long red gown or Nicki’s short black party dress. They both walk left foot in front of right leg, right foot in front of left leg, butt following along. I’ll declare Nicki the winner, but only because we get to see so much more of Mariah’s sashaying later.
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Ryan says something about how “we’re going to find out who is leaving our show,” while standing behind Randy Jackson. He kind of lingers and Randy’s like, “What?” And that’s where they leave the news, unaddressed, that the last remaining original “Idol” judge is finally departing, as well as the question of whether Ryan should consider a similar exit before he goes down with this sinking ship any further.
For the group sing, of Selena Gomez’s “Who Says,” the girls’ mics weren’t working except when the girls sang “nananananananana,” for about the first third of the song. When you could hear the verses, they turn out to basically just be Pink’s “F*in Perfect,” which we just heard the night before from Kree. So here’s an “Idol” theme week idea: songs about bullying! Songs meant to inspire 14-year-old girls! Songs by skinny millionaires about how it’s ok to be fat and poor! Songs that have been/should be on an emotional episode of “Glee”!
Speaking of “Glee,” the Fiesta Mission is for the girls to go visit a high school show choir. Guess what they sing? From the category of uplifting songs about being happy even when you’re sad! “Dance Our Tears Away.” Angie is loving this. “I was just like them in high school,” she says. You still are!
Jimmy recaps the night in three parts, and basically says exactly what he said the night before. Even though Angie squandered her moment to do Elton John on the piano, she still won the first round. Kree’s emotional home visit was enough for her to take round two. And Candice had a Mariah, Whitney Houston and Mary J. Blige-style moment. “If she’s going home, I’m going with her,” Jimmy says, to snarky applause from the background production team.
Lauren Alaina, Season 10’s runner up, is back, and she’s lost a whole bunch of weight everywhere but in her enormous head, which looks even more like her mother’s, if that’s possible. Lauren’s 18 now and graduating high school with honors in imitating Kellie Pickler. Her new song is “Barefoot and Buckwild,” which she partially wrote. If we don’t like it, she says, it’s one-third her fault. So I’m one-third pissed at her right now for this entry into the canon of melody-less country songs where girls get all mad at some guy and sort of rap about it, country style.
Mariah then gives the top three girls a mini-tutorial (and when I say mini, that’s not an exaggeration) on making a music video. She basically says not to let the record company decide how to make your video, because it’s all about freedom. She says this to the girls in front of a person who is sitting at a computer and not looking at any of them and probably playing Free Cell.
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Then we see the video of the abominably named song, “#Beautiful.” Seriously? But damn, Mariah looks amazing. I did not realize that body was still under those evening gowns. First she’s on a motorcycle in skimpy black bondage wear and/or three strategically placed strips of duct tape. Then she’s in a neon yellow nighty, just writhing and running her hands all over herself, while Miguel watches from a convertible parked in a barn filled with chandeliers. It’s about freedom. Right. Or it’s about live-action drive-in porn.
For a walk down “Idol” memory lane, we check in with Adam Lambert, and find out that he’s doing a “surprise” duet next week, which is no longer a surprise. Then Alicia Keys performs “Tears Always Win.”
And finally, the results. We already know how it ends, but I just wanted to point out that when Candice was the first called to safety, her reaction was classic. She just starts stomping around the stage and giving angry, forceful hugs to the other girls and Ryan. Candice’s happy state comes from a place of rage, and I think that’s why she’s so great at what she does. Now that Angie’s confidence has been broken, like threepeat auditioner Candice’s had been, maybe she can use some of that rage about life not actually being fair to improve going forward. So you see, tonight’s results were good for everyone.